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No Fail Mode

Bit of a corny question, but one I’m enjoying spending a little time thinking about this morning:

What would you do if you you knew you would not fail?

My quick answers:

  • Start a brewery
  • Support myself through art and music
  • Work as a gardener
  • Be a woodworking craftsman
  • Be a beekeeper

I think it goes without saying that all of these would require that I have at least a little more knowledge about the bullet item itself before I could make it a reality (ie: I don’t really know all the ins and outs of what it would take to be a successful brewer/brewery). Also, finances come into play on most. Either I just don’t have the base capital to start (start my own brewery) or the earnings would likely not be enough for me to keep my house (likely all). So, I guess these are the fantasy aspect of the question.

Now, I understand that the intent of the question probably isn’t so career-specific. I suspect it’s meant more as a kick in the ass to start a project. While I don’t think I really have a big problem with starting (or failing at) projects, perhaps I should re-write the list as projects and not careers:

  • Brew big batches of beer (my own recipes) and sell them
  • Make art and sell it
  • do more gardening (indoor/outdoor)
  • Learn to finish and sell woodworking pieces
  • Learn to keep bees and sell honey

Again, I fall into the career-thing a little bit, but this list becomes a bit more intriguing, I think. What I like here is that all of these are feasible. The only blocks in this list, really, are time to do the things themselves or time to learn about them. And, really, that’s just a big cop-out.

So, broken down even more:

Brew and sell: This would require a few things. At the top of the list would be equipment, but, let’s just assume we’re starting slow and just doing 10/15 gallon batches, that’s not so bad and probably doable once a week or so. So there’s some non-trivial amount of money up-front, but I don’t think it’s too bad, as long as I’m still employed. Then, there’s the labor, which is really just time. Then, of course, there’s the business side of it. I’m pretty sure it’d be illegal to sell anything I make before actually becoming a business and getting licensed, so that’s a bit of a stumbling block. Perhaps this has to morph into 2 goals, that is, if starting a brewery/selling beer is really the ultimate goal. If that’s the case, then I figure doing a year of all-grain, big-beer brewing on the hobby level (in large-ish batches) would be a good first step.

Make art and sell it: This seems pretty straightforward and probably even attainable. At least on some level. Getting paid for my visual art seems like a stretch, but small runs of music output that folks might be interested enough to purchase doesn’t seem too out there of an idea. I’d just need to step-up the music making and follow through on making/duplicating a purchasable product.

Do more gardening: Again, fairly straightforward, but with a hitch. I could get a job as a gardener/landscaper of some sort, but I’d have to be doing this part-time, evenings/weekends, at least until I knew more about what I was doing. And, even then, I’m not really sure I’d ever take it far enough to do anything professional with the knowledge. This feels to me like it’s pretty firmly planted in the hobby category, which is fine.

Learn to finish and sell woodworking pieces: Same as above. I mean, who knows, maybe I apprentice for a year or two and find my calling, but I think that’s more than a little doubtful. This feels like it would be more of a personal hobby than anything else. Probably one I’d be a little more interested in pursuing than gardening, even. A woodworking project probably deserves it’s own ‘project bullet’ in this list

Learn to keep bees and sell honey: Seems to me that this one is fairly attainable. There are classes I need to take, and research I need to do, and equipment I’d need to purchase, but I don’t think any of these things are super time-consuming or expensive. I need to ponder this one more. Like the beer, it probably deserves to be broken down some project-wise. 1. Complete bee school. 2. setup a hive. 3. learn about and complete requirements to sell honey.

I like the honey and beer ideas the most. I feel like they work well together too (make beer/mead w/honey collected, sell honey in brewery shop, sell both beer and honey separately). Again, I keep falling back into business/career ideas. So, maybe this is where I start thinking of actual goals and goal planning.

Possible “big” goals:

  1. Do something more with brewing
  2. Make and sell honey
  3. Make music available for purchase

broken down into steps:


  1. Upgrade brewing to 10-15 gallon all-grain
  2. Learn about selling beer (intern at a brewery? Join a local club?)
  3. Decide on next step (Brewery? Bar? Hobby?)


  1. Take a beekeeping course
  2. Get equipment and hive
  3. Learn how much honey I can produce with what effort
  4. Make decisions on next steps


  1. Get on a creative schedule (or a goal of x nights per week)
  2. Finish some pieces
  3. Compile and produce physical product
  4. Make decisions on next steps

I’ve kept the last step for all of these vague on purpose. The initial steps are large enough that there’s a good chance that as those are completed, the next goals will become obvious.

I’m clearly rambling at this point, so I’ll stop here. I suspect this hasn’t been thrilling for anyone to read, but it was a great process for me to get some thoughts out and work through some ideas.


  1. Kevin Braun wrote:

    Fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles – you pose a great question – The opportunities are immense and we will try so many things if there was no ‘failure’.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  2. Sam wrote:

    Thanks for the note. I just ordered your book.

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  3. ethan wrote:

    hehe, i like the idea of bee school.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

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